The industry practice of factionalised systems could disappear if Apple launches its own living-room device, Valve president Gabe Newell has said.
Off the back of rampant industry speculation that Apple will eventually launch its own internet-enabled televisions, Newell said he “suspects Apple will launch a living room product that redefines people's expectations”.
Though he claimed to have no solid information on the device, he said “the notion of a separate console platform will disappear” if Apple launched such a product.
He is likely referring to how an Apple television could – in keeping with Apple’s mobile device philosophy – deeply integrate with other products such as iPhone and iPad.
Platform holders such as Sony have in the past paired their home and handheld systems, but they are intended to be distinct game destinations for customers.
The upcoming PS Vita is expected to interact with PlayStation 3 through a number of games. But such handheld and living-room devices do not currently play the same game code – something an Apple television could change.
Apple TV, a puck-sized receiver for televisions, allows iPad and iPhones to connect to televisions seamlessly. The product itself, now in its third iteration, hasn’t sold in the quantities Apple is used to with its other devices. The lack of progress the device has made has further fuelled industry speculation that a standalone Apple television is in the works.
Newell, speaking at the WTIA TechNW conference, had concerns about Apple’s increasing dominance in the games space.
He said Apple’s development platform and policy is “very closed", according to a Seattle Times report.
"Let's say you have a book business and you are charging 5 to 7 per cent gross margins. You can't exist in an Apple world because they want 30 per cent and they don't care that you only have 7 per cent to play with,” he said.
The Valve co-founder again called on consoles to open up their systems to the net-connected world.
He said that "very large structural investments and structural changes" will occur over the next few years, and in turn these will threaten content creators who utilise the open internet. Here he is likely referring to new home consoles.